A few days ago, I called a salon to make an appointment for a facial.
“Can I make an appointment for a facial for two people please?”
“Certainly. Two ladies?”
“One lady and one gent?”
“No, ma’am. Both guys.”
“Two guys???? For facial????”
“Yes, ma’am. Two guys for facial, please. Why is that so hard to digest?”
My brother was leaving Kathmandu the next day to go to Bombay to start a new job. We wanted to spend some quality time together before he left and decided that going to a salon and getting a facial was the best idea. We got to the salon, browsed through the different options and pointed out what we wanted.
There were two girls waiting for their appointment and it just so happened that they were after us. I could see that they were not happy about it. It was as if we were two stray dogs peeing in their territory. Since I was getting a facial, I decided to get my eyebrows done as well. This request added to the amusement of everyone (all of whom were women) at the salon.
This incident made me reflect on the many remarks that have been made about me in the past. I was dating a girl in Kathmandu a few months ago and early in our relationship, I went to meet her in pink shorts and a black Hawaiian shirt. Apparently, this outfit made an impression on her. I always dressed well, not just when I went to see her. And most of my outfits, especially summer outfits, can be a little too eccentric for some people.
A few months into our relationship, she mentioned to me that there was a time when she thought I was gay because I always dressed well, smelled nice, took care of myself, and liked the color pink. I called her out on this and told her that not all gay people take care of themselves and not everyone who takes care of themselves is gay.
When I was in America, there were a few people who thought I was metrosexual. At that time, I did not know the meaning of metrosexual. Upon googling it, I learned that a metrosexual person is “a heterosexual urban man who enjoys shopping, fashion, and similar interests traditionally associated with women or homosexual men”.
Isn’t it weird that there was a need to categorize such “heterosexual urban men”? I told my American friends that I learned to dress well, comb my hair, polish my shoes, wear cologne, and present myself well, in school. That was part of my education. I told them that maybe this is yet another thing missing from the American education system. A guy actually said to me, “Sandeep, you look and smell so nice all the time. Are you sure you are not gay?” I said to him, “I don’t think that is the definition of being gay. But yes, I am sure I am not gay”. The irony of the situation was that he was gay.
Why are grooming, dressing well, and taking care of oneself, considered primarily female activities? I think it is essential that men partake in these activities. I like getting manicures, pedicures, and facials. I like getting my eyebrows done. And I am a straight man. These are not and should not be mutually exclusive. Women are almost required to look good all the time, but it is accepted when men look like slobs. Why? Because we are men and there is no standard held for us. I think that is mighty insulting. Women are expected to spend loads of money on makeup but when I buy a dark circles concealer, it’s weird and gay. How is that gay? I don’t think many people in Nepal understand the meaning of being gay.
A few days ago, I told my cousin that I wanted to wax my legs. I have been working out a lot and I know that my leg muscles are being developed but it is hard to see them because my legs are so bloody hairy. My cousin gave me a very quizzical look. I told him that this is one thing all guys should try, waxing. Girls shave/wax their legs all the time, why can’t we try it once. I also think that men need to get a bikini wax at least once, just to experience what it is like.
I have never tried it, but I would definitely want to. Shaving our delicate region is risky business, hence, it makes sense to choose the safe, albeit, more painful option. Why categorize these activities just for women and girls? We are missing out on so much by categorizing these activities as feminine.